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Monthly Update: June 2021 Game Releases

Monthly Update: June 2021 Game Releases

See the biggest game releases for the month of June and how much your wallet will hate you. Ratchet & Clank add a new character, Ninja Gaiden takes its back catalog to a new level, and a few games aim to take full advantage of next-gen Xbox and PlayStation capabilities.

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My Journey with Red Dead Redemption 2

My Journey with Red Dead Redemption 2

After 8th playthroughs of the Rockstar Games masterpiece Red Dead Redemption 2, Kay reflects on the graphics, story, personal interactions, and friendships built with the cast as to why she keeps coming back to this game over and over. Let’s ride!

read more
Monthly Update: June 2021 Game Releases

Monthly Update: June 2021 Game Releases

See the biggest game releases for the month of June and how much your wallet will hate you. Ratchet & Clank add a new character, Ninja Gaiden takes its back catalog to a new level, and a few games aim to take full advantage of next-gen Xbox and PlayStation capabilities.

read more
My Journey with Red Dead Redemption 2

My Journey with Red Dead Redemption 2

After 8th playthroughs of the Rockstar Games masterpiece Red Dead Redemption 2, Kay reflects on the graphics, story, personal interactions, and friendships built with the cast as to why she keeps coming back to this game over and over. Let’s ride!

read more

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Why Korean Movies and TV Shows Should Be on Your Watch List

Why Korean Movies and TV Shows Should Be on Your Watch List

I have to admit that Train to Busan wasn’t the first Korean movie I saw. It was actually The Host from acclaimed writer and director Bong Joon Ho. Back then, I don’t think I really appreciated that movie. I think I only watched it because everyone seemed to be talking about it. Years later, I went back and watched it again, and it was amazing. It gives a new shade to the monster genre and a depth that you probably didn’t even think was possible from a movie with a big monster in it. It’s not as much about the action as it is about the connection between the characters, the different relationships, and how they change. Although I have to admit, the action sequences are pretty damn good as well, especially the one at the beginning when the monster first attacks the people on the beach. But, I needed time (and an extra kick) to truly appreciate Bong Joon Ho’s movie. 

 


Gong Yoo (left) and Ma Dong-seok (right) in Train to Busan

In 2016 a new zombie movie rolled into the cinemas, and this time around, it came from Korea, not from the United States. It came at the right time when it seemed like that not even ‘The Walking Dead’ would be able to keep the zombie genre alive. In my personal opinion, Train to Busan single-handedly saved zombie films and is without question, the best one ever created. Yes, I know that is controversial to say, but I am standing by it with all my heart and soul. Once it came out, I managed to get it on Blu-Ray, watched it at least 50 times if not more, and I can’t get tired of it. I even got my hands on the novel version (it wasn’t an easy task).

I watched Seoul Station which plays in the same universe as Train to Busan and tells the story of how it all started in Seoul. This movie was such a huge success internationally as well, that we also got a second film called Peninsula which heavily involved the Americans, and not to throw any shade, but it sadly shows. Peninsula is nowhere near as great as Train to Busan was, and except for the opening scene on the ship, it fails on almost every level as it is heavily influenced by the simple curse of “More money, bigger effects and losing the heart and soul of the movie”. The characters are a bit flat and grey and they are your typical “genre characters”.

 

Not too long ago, we also got the news that James Wan (master of horror if you ask me) got the rights to create the American version of Train to Busan and I am not really happy with this news, to put it lightly. I love James Wan, respect him, and would LOVE to work with him one day, but I honestly wish that no one would ever touch Train to Busan. This movie was so good story-wise, in character building, and in the genre itself that it doesn’t need any remake/reboot. It needs to be left alone and exist perfectly on its own, please and thank you. I could go in-depth of why I think Train to Busan is the perfect zombie movie, but since I want to talk about other Korean movies and tv shows as well, I will link the video from the YouTube Channel ‘Wow Such Gaming’ in here because he explains it flawlessly:

After watching Train to Busan and falling in love with two actors Gong Yoo (he played the main character Seok-woo) and Ma Dong-seok (he played the absolute badass Sang-hwa) I did my usual ritual… I stalked them on IMDb and watched MANY of their movies and TV Shows. 

 

As I mentioned in my previous article, Ma Dong-seok will star in Marvel’s The Eternals this year, which I am overly excited about as it will be his first appearance in an American film. I would highly recommend some of his movies first for you all to fall in love with him. The two movies I love him in (besides Train to Busan of course) are two huge movies from Korea: Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds and Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days. In the first one, he only appears in the end but in the second one, he is one of the protagonists. These movies are mind-bending and I can guarantee you that they are very different from what you are used to. The first one tells the story of a firefighter who after his heroic death has to go through 7 trials in 7 hells over 49-days to disclose how he lived his life. He has the help of three guardians who are trying to succeed in defending him during the trials so he can be reincarnated as he is considered to be a model citizen. In the second movie, the Last 49 days we find out who the three guardians were in their life on Earth, and it is one of the most beautiful stories about how our lives can intertwine.

Watching these two movies made me realize why Korean movies are so appealing to me. The story-telling can be confusing at first because they are going deep from the beginning. They do not introduce their characters the same way other movies would, instead they go deep into the stories of their characters and the reason behind how they act during the main act. They don’t follow the so-called rules of story-telling. Therefore, when you fall in love with the characters on your screen it feels more natural, more human, as you find out who they really are and can get genuinely surprised when new characteristics are introduced through them. 

 

A TV Show I would like to recommend that stars Gong Yoo from Train to Busan, is called Sseulsseulhago Chalranhashin: Dokkaebi or as most people know it: Goblin. This series is mind-blowingly beautiful in every way possible: as a drama, as a romance, the cinematography, the story-telling, and the character building. It’s definitely a high peek of Korean television. Gong Yoo plays the titular character ‘Kim Shin’ aka ‘Goblin’ whose quest is to find a bride to break his immortal curse as he is a 939-year-old guardian of souls. It is at times heartbreaking, but all together just an absolutely breathtaking Korean TV drama. A must-watch. 

 

Still from the movie Forgotten

Netflix is a wonderful ally when it comes to Korean TV and Film, especially if you live outside of Korea. They have Korean originals and TV Shows and Movies (including the previously mentioned Along with the Gods) that are available to watch for the international crowd as well. The first Netflix original I saw was Forgotten. If you like heavily elaborate twists and true mind-bending… you HAVE TO watch this film. I adore Forgotten on the same level as Train to Busan (someone, please count how many times I already wrote down this title). Forgotten is about Jin-seok (played by Kang Ha-Neul) who’s brother returns after being abducted but he is a completely different person, so Jin-seok starts to search for the truth, and oh boy… the things he finds out and therefore we find out are so mind-blowing, that there’s no way you can guess ANY of the steps in this movie. It is masterfully done, every step, the way the story unfolds is something that should be taught to film students everywhere. It definitely changed my view on movies in a major way, especially on thrillers, as this counts as that. And what stands in the spotlight here as well? THE CHARACTERS. 

Another Netflix original I would very highly recommend to everyone is another TV Show called Kingdom. Kingdom is once again a major contender in the zombie genre BUT it plays during the Joseon period. It’s not just a simple zombie series, oh no… not even close, it is also a royal drama series with intricate story-telling and (once again) characters, who will very quickly grow on you and you can’t help but hold all your fingers crossed for them. This series easily knocks The Walking Dead out of the park, without any question. It focuses heavily on how greed is even worse than the dead coming back to life to bring chaos and destruction while also adding mystery and depth to its story. 

This article is very long. But hang with me as there are a few more titles that I need to mention as a must-see for anyone who would like to dive into Korean cinema (and oh boy, I hope you all do):

  • The Wailing (2016) – Psychological and Supernatural Horror
  • #Alive (2020) – Another in the Zombie genre, it has an American counterpart with Tyler Posey as the lead called ‘Alone’ but please, watch this instead of that.
  • Sweet Home (2020) – This is a Netflix original Monster TV Series, that I highly recommend. I had a bit of a harder time getting into this one than the others mentioned before, but once I was in… I did not regret it at all 
  • The Call (2020) – Remember the movie ‘Frequency’ with Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. Well, this movie is very similar to that but it has a huge twist on it that works in its favor perfectly.
  • Lucid Dream (2017) – Another Netflix original Film, dives deep into the theories on Lucid Dreaming set in the crime drama/thriller genre. 
  • Space Sweepers (2021) – One more Netflix Original Film, fresh and crunchy, this is a sci-fi epic made as an international co-production, very fun, a bit rough around the edges but altogether beautiful. Less focus on characters, which might be a bit of a weak point. 
  • Parasite (2019) – Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you doing with your life? 

There are so many more Korean TV shows and films we could talk about, but I tried to highlight some of my favorites in this article. I’ve only really started to get into Korean cinema the past few years and I do regret not getting into it earlier. It’s so different from what I am used to that it is actually refreshing. I would give out a warning though… once you get in don’t be surprised if it completely sucks you in. As a matter of fact, I started learning Korean back in 2020 so I can watch and enjoy them without subtitles. 

 

Bong Joon Ho with his Oscars

Just to mention one last thing. Because I can’t leave without talking about it. Bong Joon Ho directed one of the best post-apocalyptic movies with a mostly American cast (khm… Chris Evans… khm) and I truly and fully believe that everyone should watch it. It’s called Snowpiercer and with it, you will glance into what Korean film-making and story-telling are like. It’s also worth it to mention that Bong Joon Ho is an executive producer on the SnowPiercer TV show on TNT as well. 

Why Korean Movies and TV Shows Should Be on Your Watch List

Why Korean Movies and TV Shows Should Be on Your Watch List

I have to admit that Train to Busan wasn’t the first Korean movie I saw. It was actually The Host from acclaimed writer and director Bong Joon Ho. Back then, I don’t think I really appreciated that movie. I think I only watched it because everyone seemed to be talking about it. Years later, I went back and watched it again, and it was amazing. It gives a new shade to the monster genre and a depth that you probably didn’t even think was possible from a movie with a big monster in it. It’s not as much about the action as it is about the connection between the characters, the different relationships, and how they change. Although I have to admit, the action sequences are pretty damn good as well, especially the one at the beginning when the monster first attacks the people on the beach. But, I needed time (and an extra kick) to truly appreciate Bong Joon Ho’s movie. 

 


Gong Yoo (left) and Ma Dong-seok (right) in Train to Busan

In 2016 a new zombie movie rolled into the cinemas, and this time around, it came from Korea, not from the United States. It came at the right time when it seemed like that not even ‘The Walking Dead’ would be able to keep the zombie genre alive. In my personal opinion, Train to Busan single-handedly saved zombie films and is without question, the best one ever created. Yes, I know that is controversial to say, but I am standing by it with all my heart and soul. Once it came out, I managed to get it on Blu-Ray, watched it at least 50 times if not more, and I can’t get tired of it. I even got my hands on the novel version (it wasn’t an easy task).

I watched Seoul Station which plays in the same universe as Train to Busan and tells the story of how it all started in Seoul. This movie was such a huge success internationally as well, that we also got a second film called Peninsula which heavily involved the Americans, and not to throw any shade, but it sadly shows. Peninsula is nowhere near as great as Train to Busan was, and except for the opening scene on the ship, it fails on almost every level as it is heavily influenced by the simple curse of “More money, bigger effects and losing the heart and soul of the movie”. The characters are a bit flat and grey and they are your typical “genre characters”.

 

Not too long ago, we also got the news that James Wan (master of horror if you ask me) got the rights to create the American version of Train to Busan and I am not really happy with this news, to put it lightly. I love James Wan, respect him, and would LOVE to work with him one day, but I honestly wish that no one would ever touch Train to Busan. This movie was so good story-wise, in character building, and in the genre itself that it doesn’t need any remake/reboot. It needs to be left alone and exist perfectly on its own, please and thank you. I could go in-depth of why I think Train to Busan is the perfect zombie movie, but since I want to talk about other Korean movies and tv shows as well, I will link the video from the YouTube Channel ‘Wow Such Gaming’ in here because he explains it flawlessly:

After watching Train to Busan and falling in love with two actors Gong Yoo (he played the main character Seok-woo) and Ma Dong-seok (he played the absolute badass Sang-hwa) I did my usual ritual… I stalked them on IMDb and watched MANY of their movies and TV Shows. 

 

As I mentioned in my previous article, Ma Dong-seok will star in Marvel’s The Eternals this year, which I am overly excited about as it will be his first appearance in an American film. I would highly recommend some of his movies first for you all to fall in love with him. The two movies I love him in (besides Train to Busan of course) are two huge movies from Korea: Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds and Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days. In the first one, he only appears in the end but in the second one, he is one of the protagonists. These movies are mind-bending and I can guarantee you that they are very different from what you are used to. The first one tells the story of a firefighter who after his heroic death has to go through 7 trials in 7 hells over 49-days to disclose how he lived his life. He has the help of three guardians who are trying to succeed in defending him during the trials so he can be reincarnated as he is considered to be a model citizen. In the second movie, the Last 49 days we find out who the three guardians were in their life on Earth, and it is one of the most beautiful stories about how our lives can intertwine.

Watching these two movies made me realize why Korean movies are so appealing to me. The story-telling can be confusing at first because they are going deep from the beginning. They do not introduce their characters the same way other movies would, instead they go deep into the stories of their characters and the reason behind how they act during the main act. They don’t follow the so-called rules of story-telling. Therefore, when you fall in love with the characters on your screen it feels more natural, more human, as you find out who they really are and can get genuinely surprised when new characteristics are introduced through them. 

 

A TV Show I would like to recommend that stars Gong Yoo from Train to Busan, is called Sseulsseulhago Chalranhashin: Dokkaebi or as most people know it: Goblin. This series is mind-blowingly beautiful in every way possible: as a drama, as a romance, the cinematography, the story-telling, and the character building. It’s definitely a high peek of Korean television. Gong Yoo plays the titular character ‘Kim Shin’ aka ‘Goblin’ whose quest is to find a bride to break his immortal curse as he is a 939-year-old guardian of souls. It is at times heartbreaking, but all together just an absolutely breathtaking Korean TV drama. A must-watch. 

 

Still from the movie Forgotten

Netflix is a wonderful ally when it comes to Korean TV and Film, especially if you live outside of Korea. They have Korean originals and TV Shows and Movies (including the previously mentioned Along with the Gods) that are available to watch for the international crowd as well. The first Netflix original I saw was Forgotten. If you like heavily elaborate twists and true mind-bending… you HAVE TO watch this film. I adore Forgotten on the same level as Train to Busan (someone, please count how many times I already wrote down this title). Forgotten is about Jin-seok (played by Kang Ha-Neul) who’s brother returns after being abducted but he is a completely different person, so Jin-seok starts to search for the truth, and oh boy… the things he finds out and therefore we find out are so mind-blowing, that there’s no way you can guess ANY of the steps in this movie. It is masterfully done, every step, the way the story unfolds is something that should be taught to film students everywhere. It definitely changed my view on movies in a major way, especially on thrillers, as this counts as that. And what stands in the spotlight here as well? THE CHARACTERS. 

Another Netflix original I would very highly recommend to everyone is another TV Show called Kingdom. Kingdom is once again a major contender in the zombie genre BUT it plays during the Joseon period. It’s not just a simple zombie series, oh no… not even close, it is also a royal drama series with intricate story-telling and (once again) characters, who will very quickly grow on you and you can’t help but hold all your fingers crossed for them. This series easily knocks The Walking Dead out of the park, without any question. It focuses heavily on how greed is even worse than the dead coming back to life to bring chaos and destruction while also adding mystery and depth to its story. 

This article is very long. But hang with me as there are a few more titles that I need to mention as a must-see for anyone who would like to dive into Korean cinema (and oh boy, I hope you all do):

  • The Wailing (2016) – Psychological and Supernatural Horror
  • #Alive (2020) – Another in the Zombie genre, it has an American counterpart with Tyler Posey as the lead called ‘Alone’ but please, watch this instead of that.
  • Sweet Home (2020) – This is a Netflix original Monster TV Series, that I highly recommend. I had a bit of a harder time getting into this one than the others mentioned before, but once I was in… I did not regret it at all 
  • The Call (2020) – Remember the movie ‘Frequency’ with Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. Well, this movie is very similar to that but it has a huge twist on it that works in its favor perfectly.
  • Lucid Dream (2017) – Another Netflix original Film, dives deep into the theories on Lucid Dreaming set in the crime drama/thriller genre. 
  • Space Sweepers (2021) – One more Netflix Original Film, fresh and crunchy, this is a sci-fi epic made as an international co-production, very fun, a bit rough around the edges but altogether beautiful. Less focus on characters, which might be a bit of a weak point. 
  • Parasite (2019) – Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you doing with your life? 

There are so many more Korean TV shows and films we could talk about, but I tried to highlight some of my favorites in this article. I’ve only really started to get into Korean cinema the past few years and I do regret not getting into it earlier. It’s so different from what I am used to that it is actually refreshing. I would give out a warning though… once you get in don’t be surprised if it completely sucks you in. As a matter of fact, I started learning Korean back in 2020 so I can watch and enjoy them without subtitles. 

 

Bong Joon Ho with his Oscars

Just to mention one last thing. Because I can’t leave without talking about it. Bong Joon Ho directed one of the best post-apocalyptic movies with a mostly American cast (khm… Chris Evans… khm) and I truly and fully believe that everyone should watch it. It’s called Snowpiercer and with it, you will glance into what Korean film-making and story-telling are like. It’s also worth it to mention that Bong Joon Ho is an executive producer on the SnowPiercer TV show on TNT as well. 

Why Video Game Movies Always Come Up Short

Why Video Game Movies Always Come Up Short

I like video games.

That shouldn’t be a shocking statement if you’ve read the other articles I have on the site. I even dedicated an entire article just to talking about old Adobe flash games that I played as a child. I also like movies, and my blog on my website *shameless plug* covers movies quite a bit.

Naturally, this predisposed me to watch a whole bunch of video game movies over the years. The many films came rushing back to me as I watched the latest trailer for the new Mortal Kombat movie, and this question kept coming back to me:

Are we ever gonna see a good video game movie?

Sure, we’ve had enjoyable video game movies—your Sonic The Hedgehogs, Lara Crofts, Mortal Kombat, if you will. And there are films and games that pair together to tell a bigger story. But there’s also been the god awful—Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros., and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to name a few. None of these have been good in my view. The highest I’d rate them would be a below-average or average grade. 

All of this kept running through my head as I was watching the trailer, and my excitement for the movie started to slowly leak out of my body the more I watched. I realized I’d been here before, excited to watch the latest video game movie thinking ‘this’ll be the one’, only for it to turn out like it always does: hollow and disappointing. I asked myself why this is the case, and I reckon I’ve got a pretty good idea why.

You can’t play a movie.

I mean, of course, you can’t play a movie, but that’s beside the point.

The interaction audiences have with movies and video games is quite different. Movies are mostly passive unless you decide to pass the TV remote between your mates. In contrast, video games are generally one of the most audience-interactive modes of entertainment we have.   

A lot of AAA games developed these days have production values on par with most modern movies. However, I believe that video games’ interactivity lends more weight to the experience because it’s you controlling the events instead of just being along for the ride. I think this is always there in the back of gamers’ minds when they’re watching these video game movies. 

It would make sense that when you watch the Tomb Raider movies, you’re reminded of all the action set pieces you’ve played through. You’re inevitably going to compare them to the scenes in the movie. Thus, most of the time you’ve either seen it before and played it in the game or it’s just not as exciting as the game.

This interactivity also allows video games to connect with audiences in a completely different way compared to a movie’s passive nature. The best way to explain this would be by using an example. Let’s just pick a random game as an example…

Ah yes, Yager Development’s 2011 underrated gem Spec Ops: The Line, that’ll do nicely. (This choice isn’t surprising for those that know me considering I recommend this game to everyone any chance I get.) Spec Ops is a great example of how video games’ stories are inherently unique to the medium.

For the purposes of this post, I’m only going to be looking at the game’s story because the gameplay isn’t anything to write home about, and that’s not what I’m talking about today.

In Spec Ops, you follow Captain Martin Walker as he and his fireteam of Delta operators travel through a sandstorm-ravaged Dubai. They’re searching for a way out of the city when they discover survivors of the storm and are fired upon. This inciting incident leads Walker and his team along an inexorable path in a downward spiral as they delve deeper and deeper into the city. This concludes in a hideous maelstrom of violence and death as the player’s control over Walker is called into question. Players becoming unwitting passengers as the war crimes start piling up.

This basic plot isn’t anything groundbreaking or revolutionary. The developers are very open about their inspirations from Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness. Where the game’s story takes on a new level is when the player’s direct interactions with the game world are used to show the state of Walker’s fractured psyche.

At this point, I’m going to be talking spoilers for the game, and there are also some images that some of you may find distressing.

The best example of this is towards the end of the story when any semblance of buddy-buddy warfare has crumbled along with the squad’s mental state. Your squad member Lugo was hanged by civilians in a refugee camp. Walker and Adams are surrounded by the civilians, and the player can choose to fire into the air to scare off the civilians or gun them down without mercy. This choice may not look like much, but if we were a passive observer (like with a movie), we can’t know what kind of options Walker has. This would stop us from being able to analyze his actions with as much depth as we can as the interactive player.

See, that’s the thing. The fact we control the characters and make decisions for them gives us an insight into the characters that we can’t get from watching a movie portraying the same events.

However, this control being taken away from us in-game is also a way games can affect us on a much deeper level than movies can. Going back to Spec Ops, specifically the white phosphorus scene, Walker and the player encounter heavy enemy resistance outside The Nest. At this point in the game, the mission for Walker has morphed from fleeing Dubai to rescuing civilians held past The Nest. The team knows that they can’t win a straight firefight against that, and we learn that a mortar is nearby loaded with white phosphorus.

White phosphorus is a horrible chemical that does horrible, unspeakable things to humans when they come into contact with it. I’m not going to list them here; you can look that up in your own time if you so wish. Using the chemical is also a war crime in certain situations. Lugo even states that the team knows what the chemical does and is reluctant to use the weapon, bordering on being insubordinate. He even flat-out states that there’s always a choice, to which Walker replies, “There’s really not.”

We’ve already experienced these movies… every time we pick up the controller. 

This entire dialogue is played out in cutscene, a passive movie-watching experience that cuts away from your interactive gameplay. You can’t stop it. You can’t try and rationalize another way out of the situation. All you can do is watch as Walker commands his squad to set up the mortar and fire on the enemy encampment. However, the game drops back out of the cutscene with you looking upon the battlefield through the targeting system of the mortar, unable to stop until you have killed every last one of the enemies.

Except that not every person at The Nest was an enemy.

Do you feel like a hero yet?

Right at the end of the set-piece, you fire upon a huge mass of people that you believe are enemy combatants. After you walk your team through the scorched earth that you created, watching soldiers try to escape their fates, their screams assaulting you, you’re greeted with a terrible sight—civilians that you had set out to save, their bodies burnt and hollowed out by the white phosphorus.

It’s easily one of the most horrific acts Walker commits in the entire game.

But he wasn’t the one pushing the button and giving the commands.

That honor goes to the same person you see when you look at your screen right now.

That person is you.

That scene, more than any other in the game, shows how games draw the player in and can put them in the character’s headspace so easily. Movies just can’t get close to that experience.

That’s why I don’t think we’re ever going to get a good video game movie. Because we’ve already experienced these movies… every time we pick up the controller.     

Do you have a favorite video game movie? What movie game franchise do you want to see on the big screen next? Let me know down below.

Author’s Note:

This post delved into some pretty dark subject matter. If that’s dredged up some stuff for you on a personal level, know there are always people on hand to help you through it.

All around the globe, there are countless organisations there to help you through any tough times you may be having. You can link here to search for a mental health organisation in your country.

Stay safe and I’ll catch you all next time. -Rohan

 

The Future of the MCU

The Future of the MCU

The MCU. Love it or hate it, you simply can’t deny its effect on how movies have changed thanks to its “planning way ahead of time” strategy. Let’s be fair here, other big franchises are trying to do exactly what the MCU has done successfully. 

10 years of character, story, and world-building came together in Infinity War and Endgame and once it all came to a conclusion some people rightfully asked: ‘What now?’ I am one of those people who blindly believe in their favorite creators and let me tell you… I wholeheartedly believe in Kevin Feige. He is an absolute genius in my eyes. And trust me, I don’t call many people that. So even when they started announcing the new MCU titles I cheered like a 5-year old even though I had never heard of some of them and a few just seem downright strange. (Doctor Strange… get it? Not funny? Fine.) WandaVision was one of the titles where I was like: ‘I don’t know how I feel about this’.

Truth is that I’ve never really cared about Wanda or Vision on the same level as I cared for Captain America (who’s my absolute favorite) or Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spidey and I could go on. It’s not that I disliked their characters oh no… no. I can assure you that I wept like a child at the end of Infinity War. I also adore Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, but logically, Vision’s dead, and Wanda is grieving so what could this show possibly be about and how are they back together and why does it look like a sitcom and there were so many more questions. Then it simply arrived on Disney Plus and officially blew away almost everyone who sat down and watched it every Friday.

Still for the final episode of WandaVision

The care that went into the story and the building of this post-blip era showed from the beginning to the end. Wanda’s struggle and how they chose to tell her story after losing everyone she loved is probably the smartest decision they’ve ever made at the MCU and it was the perfect opening to Phase 4 without any question or doubt. I think one quote from the series says it all: 


What is grief, if not love persevering?” 

WandaVision closed down its run perfectly by leaving open many questions and creating new possibilities for the future. So what is the future of the MCU? 

By the time this article sees the light of day, it is highly possible that the next chapter of the MCU has already started its run with ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’. Yet another TV Show with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan returning as the titular heroes and probably the best duo on screen. If you want to watch something funny dear readers, you should watch interviews with Mackie and Stan because they are absolutely hilarious together so I am expecting some great laughs from them. How their story will affect phase 4 is another interesting question. We left them at the crucial moment where Steve Rogers handed his shield to Sam (The Falcon). We also know that Winter Soldier and Falcon are not exactly friends (the co-worker’s promo hints at this even more and it’s hilarious) and that they might have a bit of a harder time working together (I am sensing a type of buddy-comedy that I am honestly dying to see). I personally LOVE that Zemo (Daniel Brühl) from Civil War is back. I think he is definitely in the top 5 MCU villains list (even if we could argue whether he is a villain or not). It will be interesting to see how he has changed since we last saw him. The fact that he chose a purple mask to instill fear in people by evoking Thanos already gives away a bit of his character. The question with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is how much connectivity will it have to WandaVision and then how will later projects connect with it. I mean, sure, this is the question in every case when it comes to the MCU, but I believe that now that we have the TV shows next to the movies and the knowledge that WandaVision will heavily connect to Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Spiderman… well, it begs the question. Are we getting even more connections than we are used to? Will there be an even bigger web to unfold when it comes to connecting the lines? Let’s look at it this way. 

WandaVision -> Other projects -> confirmed connection 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier -> Other projects -> High possibility of connection 

Loki -> Other projects -> Big question 

Let’s stop here. We know that Loki is the very same Loki who got away with the tesseract when the time heist went a bit wrong on Tony, Steve, Scott, and Bruce’s end. Therefore, if we go by what they said about time travel and its rules in Endgame, it means that whatever happens with Loki happens on a different timeline meaning that it won’t have an effect on what happens in other MCU titles. Unless they pull a trick on us, logically Loki is a standalone series that’s bringing back everyone’s favorite God of Mischief. I might be completely wrong and then you are free to refer back to this article if I go into denial.

 
Another title that we can be pretty sure about is Black Widow. Sure there are theories out there (mine included) but as far as we are all concerned Black Widow takes place before Natasha becomes an Avenger. It will also be the first MCU movie to drop in Phase 4 so I’m just saying, anything is possible. 

We have two more familiar faces showing up this year. Hawkeye with his series and Spiderman with his movie. Hawkeye is still a bit of a mystery and we know that Kate Bishop will enter the MCU through it (played by the amazing Hailee Steinfeld) but story-wise they are keeping everything a secret. Spiderman, however, will possibly be our first official look into the multiverse if we believe all the casting news of course. News? Or just rumors? Or even better an elaborate marketing campaign to get people even more hyped (even if I don’t know how that could be possible)? 

What really interests me are the new heroes that will get introduced this year. Shang-Chi, the master of Kung Fu, will be the first one to arrive. He first appeared in 1973 in Marvel Comics but his first solo comic didn’t come out until 1983. Seeing his story come to life in the MCU opens new possibilities for them to expand their world in a new direction. It will be interesting to see how he will become part of the Avengers team or if he will become part of the team at all. 

The other newcomers this year who will open a completely new world will be the Eternals. Their story is one of the greatest from Marvel and I have to be honest, it’s one of my personal favorites next to Captain America.  When they announced it and when Angelina Jolie stepped on the stage, I almost fainted. Jolie is something of a hero for me and I look up to her in many respects, so I think I can safely say that I am very VERY excited to see this movie. There’s one more actor they cast in this movie that I am really excited about, Ma Dong-Seok. Being a major Korean cinema fan, it was mind-blowing to see him among the cast. He is an excellent actor and I would highly recommend checking out his work in other movies including Train to Busan (Busanhaeng). Important to note is the arrival of the first deaf superhero in the MCU played by Lauren Ridloff who is a well-known deaf actress (The Walking Dead, Sound of Metal). 

Another great thing about Eternals is the director: Chloé Zhao who’s now on a winning streak for her beautiful movie Nomadland. Seeing her step into the director’s chair gives even more hope for this movie (even though we already established that I have blind faith in Marvel :D). 

The cast of Eternals and their director Chloé Zhao at SDCC


The future of the MCU doesn’t stop in 2021 though. We could go on and on about what’s to come and just to give you all a brief look through: 

Captain Marvel 2

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

She-Hulk

Blade

Ms. Marvel

Thor: Love and Thunder

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

What if…?

Secret Invasion

Armor Wars

Black Panther 2

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

If you ask me, a completely biased fan of the MCU, I would say that the future couldn’t be any brighter and that it’s an amazing time to be a fan of these films. Seeing how their shows and films make a lot of people utterly excited and gives them a platform to create theories of their own is beautiful, to say the least. Even the weaker entries into this big build-up are welcomed and will find their footing in the Universe. Knowing that they plan years ahead with their stories and how they build up their characters is what makes them special for me and the reason I trust them, without a doubt. 

It is an amazing time to be a Marvel fan. 

What is your favorite Marvel character and what movie or TV show are you most looking forward to?

 

 

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